British Copper Coinage: Introduction
British Silver Coinage: Introduction
Over the centuries the denominations of English coins have changed several
times. During the period corresponding to the early colonization of America,
that is, during the rules of James I (1603-1625) and Charles I (1625-1649)
coins were hammer struck rather than milled, with several denominations
remaining from the Tudor era. Small copper change was supplemented by privately
minted trade tokens in halfpenny and farthing sizes. Under Charles II several
denominations were retired and new ones created with the introduction of
milled coinage. Thus there is a basic change in English coinage around 1663.
For the American colonial era we need to be aware of both the older and
the revised versions.
A listing of Hammer and Milled denominations follows. For a brief discussion
for each coin denomination minted in England during the American colonial period
from James I through George III Click here.
I. Hammer Struck Coinage
Hammer struck coins produced at the royal English mints during the American
colonial period from the reign of James I up to the first few years of Charles
II were as follow:
|Unite Laurel Pound||(20s)|
|Half Laurel||(10s) (gold and silver)|
|Half Crown||(2s6d) (gold and silver)|
II. Milled Coinage
Milled coinage, that is, high quality coins of uniform size and shape produced
on a press using finely milled blank planchets, were produced on a limited
basis by Oliver Cromwell during the Commonwealth (1649-1660). Under Charles
II milled coin production greatly expanded and several coin denoinations
were revised. In fact, for several denominations Charles II produced the
last hammered version of a particular coin, during 1660-1662, as well as
the first milled version of the coin, during the later 1660's. Milled hand
press coinage continued to be produced in England through the remainder
of the American colonial period. It was not until the very end of the Eighteenth
Century that the next major innovation occurred, namely the invention of
the steam powered coining press at Matthew Bolton's Soho mint in Birmingham.
The basic milled coins produced at the English royal mints from Charles
II (1660-1685) through the era of the American Revolution during the reign
of George III (1760-1820) were as follows:
|Five Guineas||105s =£5 5s|
|Two Guineas||42s = £2 2s|
|Guinea||21s = £1 1s|
For a brief discussion for each coin denomination minted in England
during the American colonial period from James I through George III Click here.
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